Herald Staff Writer
Fire, police and EMS are doing everything to stop the overdose death toll from rising.
According to the Summit County Sheriffs website, the Clandestine Methamphetamine Response Team has dismantled 396 meth labs sites in Summit County.
Barberton and Norton had a combined total of 130 of those 396 sites. Note, not all 130 meth sites are labs. A methamphetamine site could be categorized as a lab, box, chemical cache and or dumpsite.
Since 2016 there have been 865 overdose emergency room visits in Barberton and 137 deaths in 11 years according to the Summit County Public Health.
The use of Narcan saves lives but comes at a cost.
At the height of the Fentanyl epidemic, emergency crews were answering 50 to 80 overdoses a month and administering up to 200 doses of Narcan a month. The average cost for an overdose response is $254.13, according to Fire Chief Kim Baldwin. The price breaks down to $104.13 for three persons to respond and $150 per hour for the ambulance. That is a staggering $20,000 per month during the peak time in 2016.
Lt. Stephen Ionno wrote in an email to the Herald, “As of the first half of 2019, we are averaging 10 to 15 overdoses a month, administering 35 to 45 doses of Narcan.”
If the trend continues, overdoses will cost the city over $45,000 for the year; this doesn’t include medical equipment and supplies. However, it’s unlikely this trend will continue, Lt. Ionno stated that there is a significant decline in overdoses during the winter months.
Narcan cost an average of $75 for a 4 mg dose. However, Summa Barberton Hospital does provide emergency first responders with free Narcan and other medical supplies on an exchange program.
Thanks to addiction recovery programs, project DAWN and the emergency responders overdoses are on a decline.
The Ohio Good Samaritan law states that “no person shall be liable in civil damages for administering emergency care or treatment at the scene of an emergency outside of a hospital, doctor’s office, or other place having proper medical equipment, for acts performed at the scene of such emergency, unless such acts constitute willful or wanton misconduct.”
During an overdose, Lt. Steve Ionno writes, “The human body only has four to six minutes of oxygen reserve before brain death occurs. Even if a citizen administers Narcan the person may remain unresponsive, but you may have given them a chance to survive; you should always call 911.